There has been no increase in the spread of Bluetongue to France's northern coast ,according to the latest information from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

There has been a total of 272 outbreaks of the disease in the country so far, after the first outbreak was declared in September last year.

Earlier this year, a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs report in the UK said that there is an 80% chance that UK farms will suffer a bluetongue outbreak before the end of the summer.

The disease will most likely be spread by midges that are blown over from disease-outbreak regions in France, the report found.

However, this predicted outbreak is highly dependent on the level of disease on the continent, the proximity of the disease to the UK and the weather conditions.

Last week DEFRA said that vector activity would be expected to increase now the temperatures are rising.

All the recent outbreaks except one are in cattle holdings, detected by surveillance activities; however one new report, in Nievre region (Central France) was from an abortion investigation in cattle (1 out of 374 animals was affected), it said.

Despite these increased outbreaks, DEFRA confirmed that its risk level remains the same and that it will continue to monitor the current situation in France and report any further updates from the French Authorities, particularly about the winter surveillance which is still to be analysed.

In addition, as the season progresses it will start to use meteorological information to inform our risk assessment, it said.

Irish cattle exports to Turkey hinge on Bluetongue-free status – Bord Bia

Live cattle exports to Turkey depend on Ireland maintaining its Bluetongue-free status, according to Bord Bia’s Joe Burke.

Turkey’s live cattle market opened to Irish live cattle exports in March, with the middle eastern state expected to import more than 500,000 live cattle this year.

The opening of the Turkish export market was welcomed by farming organisations, but an outbreak of Bluetongue in Ireland could scupper live exports of Irish cattle to Turkey.

Earlier this year, the Bord Bia Beef and Livestock Sector Manager said that Ireland’s Bluetongue-free status is one of the main reasons why Turkish buyers are interested in Irish cattle.

“Turkish buyers are looking for 300kg beef-bred bulls under 12 months of age and they are willing to pay for these animals,” he said.

But, he said that a bluetongue outbreak in Ireland could see Turkish buyers lose interest in the Irish market.

Burke also said that if bluetongue spreads to the UK, there is a possibility that the disease would spread to Ireland.